Happy Holidays!

We hope you are having a superb holiday season and enjoying your time with family and friends. Although work may be the furthest thing from our minds this time of year, an influx of new information for 2015 is undoubtedly waiting for you when you get back to buckling down.

Like many industries, the background screening industry moves at lightning speed. Background check companies, or, as we’re known throughout insider circles, Credit Reporting Agencies (CRAs), like Active Screening move at lightning speed. We not only have to keep up with current data, privacy, and security technologies, but we must be adaptable to changes in legislative laws and Human Resources practices. This means staying on top of trends is mission critical for us to continue to provide the best-in-class service we’re known around the world for.

There are five key trends that we expect to capture a lot of attention in the background screening industry in 2015. Here’s what they are and why you need to get familiar with them sooner rather than later.

More Challenges Expected Against the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) Guidance on Criminal Records

When the EEOC revamped its stance on the employment proceedings for hiring people with arrest and/or conviction records in 2012, it might not have foreseen the firestorm it created for American companies. For the past two years, though, the EEOC has had a bullseye on its back as employers and employees alike try to make sense of what is an oft-criticized attempt filled with confusing and vague wording. A recent lawsuit filed by the EEOC against BMW for alleged unlawful hiring practices against African-Americans has forced the EEOC to show its own hand. BMW has requested the EEOC disclose its own hiring documents when it comes to assessing candidates with arrest or conviction records. As this case plays out in 2015, American companies will be watching closely.

The Buck Won’t Stop With Background Checks

In light of insider privacy breaches by the likes of people like Edward Snowden and murderous disgruntled employees as evidenced by this tragic event at a FedEx facility, employers will have to do more on policing their people after hiring them. Background checks are an important and necessary step to any hiring policy, but employers may have to start taking extra steps to proactively engage with their employees during the course of their employment. It’s human nature. People change. Environment affects behavior. There can be plenty of triggers in a person’s life that would cause them to act, behave and/or think differently after coming on board. Employers need to care enough about their employees and the safety and security of their workplace to make these employee check-ups commonplace even after someone has passed a background check.

Volunteers Can’t Slip Through the Cracks

Just because someone isn’t a paid employee doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be held to the same hiring standards. How’s that for a triple negative? Here’s the deal. If a volunteer, and by ‘volunteer,’ we mean everyone from a Little League coach to a church nursery organizer, does something egregious, you’re going to be on the hook for it. Legally, yes. But your reputation is also going to be kaput, and re-building that, believe it or not, can take WAY longer than a court proceeding. Employers, organizations, schools, health care agencies and anyone else who relies on the kindness of volunteers are going to have face facts in 2015 – they need to do more to vet the people who want to help.

Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) Lawsuits Will Continue to Grow

It’s the perfect storm, really. No less than two federal agencies, the EEOC and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are cracking down on FCRA violations AND job applicants are becoming increasingly savvy about hiring law, especially when it comes to background checks. Already, the EEOC is mounting record numbers of class action FCRA lawsuits with record-breaking returns. Employers and background screening agencies need to work in tandem to ensure all hiring processes and policies are sound and that everyone is on the same page when implementing them. If you don’t create this seamless bond between employer and screening agency, something will slip through the crack and you can bet some attorney will catch it with an open wallet.

Local Laws Will Trump All 

Medical Marijuana. Minimum Wage. Firearm background checks. Same Sex Marriage. Ban the Box. All of these issues are percolating at the local and state level and will affect how employers are able to hire and vet candidates. The problem for employers is that these local or state laws make it difficult for employers who hire across state lines. They need to be aware of what hoops they need to jump through and, in some cases, may decide to scrap their hiring outreach or the screening process. Both scenarios are bad. It will be crucial in 2015 to watch how these laws develop and to observe how the aftermath of certain laws play out.

Still have questions about the background screening industry? We’d love to talk. Our experts are ready to chat live with you (just look for the box at the bottom of your screen on our website) or feel free to comment below, email or ring us. We believe in the safety and security background checks provide you, your employees and your job candidates. We look forward to meeting you in 2015 to discuss your screening needs.

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